Newcastle United will do battle with Swansea City on Saturday at St. James’ Park amidst much uncertainty. The Magpies have lost their last six matches overall. Off the field, the club continues to deal with the fallout of a fan boycott.
It has been a season to forget at Tyneside. A loss on Saturday could mean that relegation could be a realistic possibility. The club is currently seven points clear with five matches to go before the end of the season. Newcastle have won just twice since the beginning of 2015.
Swansea continue to defy all expectations. Garry Monk’s club sit in eighth position in the table, after finishing 12th a year ago. However, the Swans lost 2-0 to Leicester City last week. These clubs played to a 2-2 draw at Liberty Stadium in an earlier encounter in October.
Injuries and Suspensions
After an injury-plagued start to life in the Premier League it finally looks like Siem De Jong is ready to make his return to action, possibly as early as Saturday. Jonas Gutierrez was dropped from Newcastle’s last match against Spurs after an altercation with John Carver. Although, the Newcastle manager insists that the incident is behind them and Gutierrez should be in the squad against Swansea.
Papiss Cissé and Moussa Sissoko will both be suspended for the match. Cissé has two matches remaining on his suspension. While Sissoko will return next week against Leicester City. Paul Dummett (knee), Rolando Aarons (hamstring) and Cheick Tioté (knee) are all unavailable. Massadio Haidara (knee) and Steven Taylor (ruptured Achilles tendon) are done for the season.
Swansea will be without Bafetimbi Gomis (hamstring), Kyle Naughton and Tom Carroll (both ankle) for this match. Neil Taylor will also miss the match due to suspension.
Tactics and Possible Starting Line-Ups
John Carver tried a 4-3-3 formation last week in Newcastle’s 3-1 defeat to Spurs. With little going right, it looks like the Newcastle manager is getting desperate. He is expected to go back to a 4-4-2 or a 4-2-3-1 formation. If Siem de Jong is ready to go, it is more likely that he will start the match on the bench because of a lack of fitness.
Swansea manager Garry Monk has gone back and forth between 4-4-2 and 4-3-3 this season. Last week against Leicester City he used a 4-4-2 with Wayne Routledge and on-loan striker Nelson Oliveira in front. He might be tempted to change things up once again.
The Welsh club has managed relatively well since the departure of Wilfried Bony to Manchester City in January but with Gomis out, the Swans are without a proven striker. However, the club has a midfield that could score goals. Sung-Yong Ki has seven goals this season. Gylfi Sigurðsson has five. Jonjo Shelvy is an omnipresent figure in midfield as well.
Swansea is coming off a lacklustre 2-0 defeat to regulation-battlers Leicester City. The Swans have been good on the road recently with points in four of the last seven matches away from Liberty Stadium.
This will only be the tenth match between these two clubs. Prior to the 2-2 draw earlier in the season, Swansea had won four consecutive matches against Newcastle. Overall, the Swans have won four of nine meetings against Newcastle all-time. Newcastle have won twice in all competitions.
The Magpies have certainly made life difficult for themselves. Their recent home record has been atrocious. They have only one win in their last seven at St. James’ Park. Scoring has been a problem in that time. They have only scored more than one goal just once in that time, a 3-3 draw against Burnley.
Newcastle are a desperate club, clearly. A victory would do much to ease some of the pressure on Carver and the players. Swansea on the other hand have little to play for. Therefore, the Magpies should come out with a better effort and earn a narrow victory.
Newcastle United 2 – 1 Swansea City